St Barts Being part of the reconciliation journey
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Being part of the
reconciliation journey

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Neil Starkie, GM Strategic Partnerships and Growth

Since 1963, St Bart’s has been standing by the side of vulnerable West Australians and we recognise the special role we play in championing an inclusive and supportive environment where our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients can thrive.

In 2022 we had the pleasure of launching our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which is just the beginning of our ongoing journey towards reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, organisations, staff and communities.

St Bart’s head office is in East Perth, which is at the heart of a precinct where many rurally residing Aboriginal peoples moved to in the 1920s. Aboriginal people were getting work at the local scrap metal yard as well as at the local railyard and factories. Lower cost housing and hostels were also available in the area at the time.

Noongar Elder and Wungening Aboriginal Corporation Community Engagement Manager Patrick Egan said the area is of significance to Aboriginal peoples. He said it held many memories of pain and sadness, representing the disconnection of many from the land to which they had a spiritual connection.

With this rich history of the land on which we provide our services to some of Perth’s most vulnerable people, it is our mission to enable a culture of support and security for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and residents to thrive at St Bart’s.

Aboriginal people are over-represented in the population of people experiencing homelessness in Western Australia and, in some of our services, more than half of our clients identify as Aboriginal people.

Reconciliation is not just a matter of symbolic gestures. It requires systemic change and ongoing commitment from all Australians to address the root causes of inequality and disadvantage.

Our RAP has been developed in consultation with our RAP Working Group and external partners and represents the foundation for St Bart’s to build, maintain and champion respectful relationships and actively seek out opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have empowerment, equality and choice.

Published in Messenger May 2023

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